The Scottish Greens have recently presented their green manifesto, Our Common Future, for the Holyrood election expected to be held on May 6 2021.
The plan, which consists of 5 main sections (economy and infrastructure; environment; internal and external affairs; public services; society), showcases the policies they wish to bring forth if elected to Parliament.
The Scottish Greens have underlined the importance for a plan that places green industries and technology at the heart of its objective. The following article covers a general overview of the manifesto’s primary points and the Greens’ main goals. For the original and more detailed version, click here.
Internal and external affairs
- Independence referendum: The Scottish Greens want the passing of an Independence Referendum in the next Parliamentary term. Regaining EU membership would allow for Scottish citizens to work, travel, and study anywhere in Europe like prior to Brexit. Scotland’s independence would also signify greater self-governance and a strengthened democracy for its citizens.
- External affairs: Scotland would play a more active role in the international community by supporting the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, supporting global nuclear disarmament, ending governmental support to the arms industry, and calling out the violation of human rights in countries such as Palestine, Syria, and China with the Uighur population.
- Restoring Scotland’s environment: Some important missions in terms of restoring the environment include expanding protected areas, introducing “legally binding nature recovery targets”, improved species protection, creating two new national parks, and drastically reducing plastic pollution.
- Food and farming: The implementation of A Good Food Nation Bill which would ensure open access to healthy and local food to everyone in normal times as well as in times of crisis. There would also be a reform in farming subsidies.
- Seas: The Greens would implement a transition to sustainable salmon farming through strict monitoring systems, stronger policies in order to protect marine wildlife and reefs off the shore of Scotland.
- Wildlife: A ban on cruel animal traps would be put in place as well as bloodsports such as grouse shooting and fox hunting which is still heavily practiced in Scotland.
Economy and infrastructure
- Green economic recovery: The Scottish Greens plan the implementation of policies in their green economic recovery that would help reshape Scotland’s economy all while protecting the environment as much as possible. The kinds of policies included in this recovery would be useful in the long run if applied.
- Fair taxes: The Scottish Greens claim that the wealthier portion of the population and those who have the financial means to contribute more should pay a larger share of taxes in order to help better fund public services.
- Energy and just transition: A gradual and steady transition to green renewable energy would be brought forth. This includes investing more in onshore wind with new wind turbine models, hydro power, and the gradual eradication of North Sea oil and gas usage which generates large amounts of pollution.
- Transport: Public transportation would become more affordable in order to reduce the usage of private cars as they represent an important percentage of Scotland’s total gas emissions. The Greens also plan to invest in a Scottish railway system, promote the use of bikes and walking by creating a safer and more accessible cycling network, electrify transport, and establish publicly owned public transportation services, amongst other things.
- Housing: The Greens want to make housing in Scotland more affordable considering the expensive cost of renting. Tenants will also be further protected from eviction and insecure housing with a new tenant deal. Holding landlords accountable will also be a priority for the Greens. They also wish to drastically improve public housing in order to reduce homelessness.
- Health: In terms of health, the Greens want to further support frontline healthcare workers by improving work conditions, enhancing the quality of work environments all over the country, enhancing heart disease and cancer awareness as well as research funding, more empathetic palliative care, better access to dental services, and increased funding directed towards mental health care.
- Local democracy: Local and municipal governments should occupy an important role in community organizing and decision-making. The Scottish Greens will stimulate participatory democracy, encourage more diverse representation in local councils, and push for broader and stronger public engagement, amongst many other things.
- Social security: Amongst their primary missions, the Greens want to eradicate child poverty by 10% as the estimated number of children living in poverty currently sits at 23 000. They also want to introduce a universal basic income in order to ensure every individual is able to fulfill their basic needs. Disability and carer benefits would also be raised in order to give everyone a fair chance at living a comfortable life.
- Education: The Greens would implement “responsible citizenship” as part of the educational curriculum in order to teach youth about issues that are too often not discussed in class such as their rights as future workers, how to self-organize, consent, mental health, uncensored British history (e.g., the origins of slavery) and LGBTQ2+ inclusivity. They will also raise the age that children first start elementary school to one year later and widen access to higher education through financial support and the suspension of interest payments.
- Equalities: The Scottish Greens want to adopt an intersectional approach to eradicating inequalities based on gender, disability, race, faith, and issues relating to the LGBTQ2+ community. This includes putting in place measures such as tackling the gender pay gap, destroying social barriers that prevent equitable and fair access to certain opportunities, adopting more inclusive policies to protect/recognize certain groups, and tackling systemic racism.
- Justice: Some notable aspects relating to justice that the Greens want to introduce include holding Scottish police accountable, reducing the use of force by police during interventions, making civil legal aid available and accessible for domestic abuse victims, decriminalizing sex work, and putting an end to violence against women.
- Culture: The Greens want to invest more in Scotland’s cultural sector by providing more funding for librairies/cultural hubs, including artists and other creative thinkers in governmental decision making, investing in the Scottish film industry, reviving local media, bringing back the importance of arts in the educational sector, and promoting language diversity.
Here are more accessible versions of the Scottish Greens 2021 Manifesto.